In between essay writing for applications, I've been diving into the books about Cambodia. I read "A Short History of Cambodia" by John Tully, which was a well written and, at times, playful overview of Cambodia's history. The current Kiva fellow at CREDIT, Teresa, told me through a Skype phone call that it's important to try to find sources on the history and culture of Cambodia post-Khmer Rouge. Although in both Tully and Chandler's books that period comprises no more than a 20 page chapter, I'd venture to say that it's rather reflective of Cambodia's earlier years, in that real social change and reduction of corruption remain elusive, and the outlook for the short term is not so rosy.
The language has been fairly challenging. So far I've focused my efforts on basic pronunciation, memorizing the consonants and vowels, and just listening to the sounds of words. I took the audio from a couple videos on youtube and made my own mp3 tracks by cutting the useless bits. Then I wrote out the vowel and consonant symbols I memorized and taped them to the front of the exercise bike and looped over the set for about 45 minutes as I dripped sweat all over the papers.
I'm proud to announce that I got my first donation! Someone gave me $20, which means I'm almost there! Heh. I've got some other fundraising schemes including selling some of mom's unused purses and shoes on ebay, approaching local Rotary clubs, directly approaching dad's friends (who tend to have more money than friends who are my age...), and possibly a fundraising dinner. Be on the lookout, I might come for you next!
Other things on the horizon -- vaccinations, training, buying plane tickets, and lots and lots of studying, which I'll have to squeeze in between applications. That's ok, it keeps me excited!
Happy new year, if you celebrate arbitrary calendar events. I think I'll sleep this one out.... goodnight!